Autumn color plays an important role in a landscape. Plant shrubs for autumn color as background plants for flowers that bloom in the summer, and the colors will take over as the flower's colors fade. Plant low-growing shrubs under evergreens to create a splash of color in a sea of green. Plant taller shrubs as specimen plants on the front lawn, and let the color liven up the neighborhood.
Burning bush (Euonymus alatus) is also known as winged euonymus. The shrub grows up to 15 feet tall and 15 feet wide with elliptic or egg-shaped, medium to dark-green leaves that turn a flaming red if planted in full sun and pinkish-red if planted in the shade. Flowers are yellow-green clusters that bloom in May and early June and are followed by small, red or orange seed capsules. Burning bush is hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 8 and prefers a moist, well-drained soil.
Fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica) is hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 9 and grows best full sun or partial shade and a well-drained soil. The 1-1/2 to 2 foot tall, 8-foot wide shrub features small, medium green leaves that turn orange and red in autumn. Yellow male flowers grow in long spikes, and yellow female flowers in clusters at the tips of the stems, most of the time on different plants. Male flowers start forming in late summer and bloom the following spring. Female flowers are followed by red berries in late summer.
Hedge cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lucidus) is native to northern Asia. The shrub grows from 6 to 10 feet tall with dark-green, egg-shaped leaves from 1 to 2-1/2 inches long and 1 inch wide that turns yellow and red in the fall. Small pink flowers grow in clusters, blooming in June and are followed by small black berries in September and October. Hedge cotoneaster likes full sun or partial shade and a well-drained soil. The plant is salt tolerant and hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 6.
Doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum tomentosum) also is known as Double File Viburnum and grows up to 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide. The shrub features medium to dark-green, egg- or elliptic-shaped leaves that turn wine, maroon or burgundy in autumn. Sterile white flowers bloom in May and are followed by fertile flowers growing in 3-inch wide, flat-topped clusters followed by fruits that turn black when they mature. Plant doublefile viburnum in full sun or partial shade and a moist, well-drained soil.